Join HMS Unicorn for a fascinating story of one woman’s experience of World War II – “Life as a Wren: A Story of the Second World War”.

Finlay Raffle (HMS Unicorn) will be speaking with author Vicky Unwin about her book "Love and War in the WRNS: Letters home 1940-46".  The book is based on the letters of Vicky’s mother Sheila Mills who joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1940.

Sheila was a clever, middle-class Norfolk girl who wanted to escape the shackles of secretarial work in London, her unhappy childhood, and her social-climbing mother.  Starting with Sheila’s first posting to Scotland at the start of the war, the letters chart her progress through the ranks, first to Egypt and, later, to a vanquished Germany.

“Love and War in the WRNS" offers a tantalising glimpse into the rarefied world of the Wrens and, perhaps more importantly, a vivid sense of what it was like to be a young woman living through such tumultuous times” - Evening Standard.

Vicky Unwin is an author with a long career in both book and newspaper publishing, centred round her African roots, and is currently the chair of Wasafiri Magazine and a Caine Prize Council member.  She has always been fascinated by family secrets and began researching the story behind The Boy from Boskovice: a father’s secret life (Unbound, January 2021) shortly before her father’s death in 2012.  Vicky writes extensively about living with cancer at and is a Trustee of Transform Drug Policy Foundation campaigning for the decriminalisation of drugs after losing her daughter to a ketamine overdose in 2011. She lives in London.

Sign up online and we will send you a Zoom link to join us on Thursday 1st July at midday (12pm).

HMS Unicorn is providing this talk free of charge, but our work is only made possible through your support. To donate to HMS Unicorn and the Unicorn Preservation Society, please head to


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